The Political Economy of European Integration: Theory and Analysis

The Political Economy of European Integration: Theory and Analysis

The Political Economy of European Integration: Theory and Analysis

The Political Economy of European Integration: Theory and Analysis


This book provides a balanced introduction to diverse political economy perspectives on different aspects of European integration, demonstrating both the importance and the potential of research in this area. The volume includes three types of chapters: broad literature reviews, narrower applications of existing arguments, and new syntheses of competing claims. The authors also present a critical appraisal of how scholars in the EU and US use theory to understand European integration, and examine issues such as citizens' attitudes, perceptions and preferences of actors, the role of non-state actors, principle-agent questions, and the role and the autonomy of European institutions. This empirically informed and methodologically rigorous volume will be of great interest to students and researchers in the fields of comparative political economy, EU studies, international political economy and international organizations.


As the title suggests, this book is about the political economy of European integration. We chose that subject for two reasons. the first is empirical. the European Union (EU) has changed a lot over the past decade. It will change even more over the decade to come. the enlargement of membership, the reform of institutions, and the expansion ('deepening') of policy competency all promise to make the Europe of the future very different from the Europe of the past. Anything that changes so much, so quickly, is interesting - certainly to us and hopefully to our readers as well.

The second reason for choosing to write this book has more to do with political economy than with European integration. There are many good books already in print about this new Europe. Our goal is not to add to the burgeoning mountain of contemporary and forward-looking analysis. Rather we hope to provide illustrations that will make that new literature a bit easier to grasp. We believe that much of what is happening in Europe cannot be understood from a single point of view. More than ever before, students of European integration must look at their subject from a range of perspectives, they must use different toolkits, and they must be willing to challenge their own assumptions.

The problem with embracing such a variety of analyses is that it is so easy to make mistakes and so difficult to figure out what others are actually doing. the more disciplines you add into the mix, the greater this problem becomes. Thus while we believe it is important to adopt a range of different viewpoints, we accept that there are practical constraints on how much diversity we should expect any single analyst to apprehend. That is why we focus on political economy.

The term 'political economy' has two different connotations. Sometimes it refers to the interface between economics and politics in the real world - as in the politics of economic policymaking or the economic motivations behind electoral choice. When classical writers like Carr (1981 [1939]: 106-10), Schumpeter (1962 [1950]), or Polanyi (1957 [1944]: 135-50) decry the separation of politics and economics, they usually focus on this real-world dimension. For them, politics and economics are inextricably intertwined.

Such empirical issues are largely uncontested with respect to European integration. Few would object to the assertion that European integration is both political and economic. From the European Coal and Steel Community to the single

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